If you have diabetes, it's essential to make foot care part of your daily self-care routine.
That's because "people can develop complications before they realize they even have a problem," says Bresta Miranda-Palma, MD, a professor with the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. "I've seen people walk on a nail for weeks until infection has developed."
When feet and legs have nerve damage, a small cut or wound can go unnoticed. That's why it's critical to check for problems before they get infected and lead to serious complications -- like gangrene or amputation.
"Daily foot care is the most important thing," says Miranda-Palma. "About 85% of amputations can be prevented if the patient gets a wound treated in time."
That means checking your feet daily and seeing a foot doctor (podiatrist) every two or three months in order to catch problems early.
Check the tops and bottoms of your feet, using a mirror if you need it; you can also ask someone else to check your feet for you. Also, be sure to get your feet examined at every doctor's visit.
When examining your feet, look for:
Call Your Doctor if You Notice:
How to Protect Your Feet: